Etoposide has demonstrated highly significant clinical activity against a wide variety of neoplasms, including germ-cell malignancies, small-cell lung cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, leukemias, Kaposi's sarcoma, neuroblastoma, and soft-tissue sarcomas. It is also one of the important agents in the preparatory regimens given prior to bone marrow and peripheral stem-cell rescue. Despite its high degree of efficacy in a number of malignancies, the optimal dose, schedule, and dosing form remain to be defined. It is possible that continuous or prolonged inhibition of the substrate, i.e., topoisomerase II, may be the key factor for the cytotoxic effects of etoposide. Clinical studies have shown the activity of etoposide to be schedule-dependent, with prolonged dosing, best accomplished by the oral dosing form, offering a therapeutic advantage. This benefit awaits validation by prospective randomized studies, some of which are in progress. Recent clinical investigations have focused on the use of etoposide in combination with (a) cytokines to ameliorate myelosuppression, the dose-limiting toxicity of etoposide; (b) agents such as cyclosporin A and verapamil to alter the p-glycoprotein (mdr 1) function; and (c) topoisomerase I inhibitors to modulate the substrate upon which it acts. There is continued interest in the development of etoposide to its maximal clinical dimensions and in the examination of alternative biochemical and mechanistic approaches to further our understanding of this highly active agent.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research
- Pharmacology (medical)